Sola Fide is driving me crazy!!


#1

Ive been in conversation with quite a few protestant believers lately and we have discussed Sola Fide (Faith Alone)…every time I try and speak with them about it it becomes this weird twisted theological pretzel.

I constantly hear from them how Faith alone is what “saves” yet they will at the same time say that if a person isnt acting as a Christian they cant be “saved” because that proves they dont have true Faith.

So when you boil it all down the Protestant view that I am always hearing is that in order to be “saved” you need to have works, because being without works shows you dont have faith, so they, without understanding it, claim that true faith has works, which is the Catholic point of view. But when i say this they say no no no…you Catholics believe in a “Works based righteousness”…

I know that we believe we are saved by Grace through Faith, not because of our works. But that we must work out our salvation by bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance.

Can somebody help me out here, it all seems anti-Catholic babble to me and I truly dont understand their reasoning.

To me it just seems like they want to have another easy way out of any obligation…to me it seems like most Protestantism is the EASY way out…


#2

Someday soon, I hope to start a new thread that should be fairly controversial.

Sola Fide is wrong if faith is all there is.
Faith with works is also wrong if they are by themselves.

[list]
*]Faith with Charismatic gifts alone isn’t enough: 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
[/list]“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.”

[list]
*]Faith with selfless works alone isn’t enough: 1 Corinthians 13:3
[/list]“If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

In addition to faith, a heart transplant is required. Spiritually speaking, we must give up our sinful human stony hearts and instead have a new Christian heart.

The Prayer to St. Joseph includes the words “Therefore I humbly beseech thee … to obtain for me and for all the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus, …” We need Jesus’s blood and his Sacred Heart to touch our hearts.

It is from a Christian Heart, that true Christian works flow.

So in my opinion, it is Faith, a Christian Heart and Christian Works that naturally flow.


#3

The Baptist/Evangelical belief is the one time actual act of salvation is by grace alone. It is the moments of the sinner’s prayer where you ask Jesus to be your personal Savior.

Then afterwards you obey God by being baptized and doing God Works. The idea is that you are so grateful and love God so much you will do what he tells you to do. The Spirit will move you to do good works.

If you do not do good works you will not lose your salvation but you will be considered a lazy Christian. A backslider. If you refuse to do them it means you were never saved to begin with.

What they define as ‘good works’ is usually coached in terms of evangelism. You might feed the hungry or clothe the naked or visit the sick or prisoners but only as a means of trying to convert them.
I can only speak for my own experience and I’m sure I might get lots of posts to the contrary but I remember it was like pulling teeth to get some Bapists to help with any temporal ‘good works’. Why should they? They are saved and while its a good thing…it won’t help with their salvation.

dream wanderer


#4

The “once saved, always saved” doctrine is kind of like Calvinism Lite: if you totally turn away, then that means that you are not part of the Elect (i.e. was never saved to begin with).

Not surprisingly, I believe that a few groups, including the Southern Baptists, accept the Calvinistic Westminster Confession.

Frankly, I’d rather be a Presbyterian than run with that crowd; they’re more consistent.

In Christ,

The Augustinian


#5

Sola Fide? :confused:

Satan has faith and he knows without a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God and yet he chooses to be totally evil. Is faith alone enough for him??? Certainly NOT.

:amen:
Shannin


#6

Maybe this will help:

by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921)

Sometimes we are told that Justification by Faith is “out of date.” That would be a pity, if it were true. What it would mean would be that the way of salvation was closed and “no thoroughfare” nailed up over the barriers. There is no justification for sinful men except by faith. The works of a sinful man will, of course, be as sinful as he is, and nothing but condemnation can be built on them. Where can he get works upon which he can found his hope of justification, except from Another? His hope of Justification, remember—that is, of being pronounced righteous by God. Can God pronounce him righteous except on the ground of works that are righteous? Where can a sinful man get works that are righteous? Surely, not from himself; for, is he not a sinner, and all his works as sinful as he is? He must go out of himself, then, to find works which he can offer to God as righteous. And where will he find such works except in Christ? Or how will he make them his own except by faith in Christ?
Justification by Faith, we see, is not to be set in contradiction to justification by Works. It is set in contradiction only to justification by our Own Works. It is justification by Christ’s Works. The whole question, accordingly, is whether we can hope to be received into God’s favor on the ground of what we do ourselves, or only on the ground of what Christ does for us. If we expect to be received on the ground of what we do ourselves-that is what is called Justification by Works. If on the ground of what Christ has done for us-that is what is meant by Justification by Faith. Justification by Faith means, that is to say, that we look to Christ and to him alone for salvation, and come to God pleading Christ’s death and righteousness as the ground of our hope to be received into his favor. If Justification by Faith is out of date, that means, then, that salvation by Christ is out of date. There is nothing, in that case, left to us but that each man must just do the best he can to save himself.
**Justification by Faith does not mean, then, salvation by believing things instead of by doing right. It means pleading the merits of Christ before the throne of grace instead of our own merits. ** It may be doing right to believe things, and doing right is certainly right. The trouble with pleading our own merits before God is not that merits of our own would not be acceptable to God. The trouble is that we haven’t any merits of our own to plead before God. Adam, before his fall, had merits of his own, and because he had merits of his own he was, in his own person, acceptable to God. He didn’t need Another to stand between him and God, whose merits he could plead. And, therefore, there was no talk of his being Justified by Faith. But we are not like Adam before the fall; we are sinners and have no merits of our own. If we are to be justified at all, it must be on the ground of the merits of Another, whose merits can be made ours by faith. And that is the reason why God sent his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life. If we do not believe in him, obviously we must perish. But if we believe in him, we shall not perish but have everlasting life. That is just Justification by Faith. Justification by Faith is nothing other than obtaining everlasting life by believing in Christ. If Justification by Faith is out of date, then is salvation through Christ out of date. And as there is none other name under heaven, given among men, wherein we must be saved, if salvation through Christ is out of date then is salvation itself out of date. Surely, in a world of sinful men, needing salvation, this would be a great pity."

Ephasis added.

Brian


#7

In that case, Catholics believe “sola fide”, but wait, we don’t. We don’t believe that receiving the sacraments and doing what Christ required us to do is trying to “earn salvation by our own merits”. Protestants however, seem to think so, but then again, most protestants refuse to learn what the church actually teaches and remain outsiders looking in. That isn’t any way to get info, reliable info at least.


#8

[quote=SojournerOf78]Ive been in conversation with quite a few protestant believers lately and we have discussed Sola Fide (Faith Alone)…every time I try and speak with them about it it becomes this weird twisted theological pretzel.

I constantly hear from them how Faith alone is what “saves” yet they will at the same time say that if a person isnt acting as a Christian they cant be “saved” because that proves they dont have true Faith.

So when you boil it all down the Protestant view that I am always hearing is that in order to be “saved” you need to have works, because being without works shows you dont have faith, so they, without understanding it, claim that true faith has works, which is the Catholic point of view. But when i say this they say no no no…you Catholics believe in a “Works based righteousness”…
.
[/quote]

Nevertheless, you are perhaps their only person they will meet anytime soon that will explain to them and discuss doctrines of the Church with them. As the good Cardinal Gibbons wrote in the introduction to his work “Faith of our Fathers”:
“It is not of their hostility that I complain, but because the judgement they have formed of her is based upon the reckless assertations of her enemies, and not upon those of impartial witnesses. Suppose that I wanted to obtain a correct estimate of the Southern people, would it be fair in me to select, as my only sources of information, certain Northern and Eastern periodicals which, during our Civil War, were bitterly opposed to the race and institutions of the South? Those papers have represented you as men who always appeal to the sword and pistol, instead of the law, to vindicate your private grievances. Now I ask you to give to the Catholic Church the same measure of fairness which you reasonably demand of me when judging of Southern character. Ask not her enemies what she is, for they are blinded by passion; ask not her ungrateful, renegade children, for you never heard a son speaking well of the mother whom he had abandoned and despised. … Should not I be better qualified to present to you the Church’s creed than the unfriendly witnesses whom I have mentioned?”

So challenge them, if they are convinced that they are lacking the true deposit of faith, they probably won’t convert anyways, but you have at least done your job, and they will know better and have a trustworthy source to get answers from their questions


#9

Part of this whole problem lies in whether you mean by faith in Jesus “giving my full intellectual assent to this set of truths about Jesus” or whether you mean “a profound trust in Jesus that implies the the full handing over of my entire life, including those things I do, to His rightful ownership.” Once you start talking about the second sense, in which faith is not an intellectual exercise but a process that can be interrupted or reversed, then it is nearly impossible to tease belief and works apart. They are both the work of faith, part of what is required to put on Christ. One does not move forward without the other. You literally cannot have faith in the second sense without works, any more than you can be a diver who never leaves the platform.

The problem comes, of course, when in the course of a discussion of the topic, the two people arguing each move from one sense to the other, as if no difference exists. It is no surprise that the whole thing has everyone tearing their hair out before long!

One only has to try the process of faith to know also that it is a process. I think many Protestants underestimate the degree to which their cooperation is required in this act of free will. St. Paul’s exhortation to “run so as to win” is just one example in which he teaches that continual cooperation is required. He taught clearly that it is out of place to take salvation for granted. It does not happen in a single day, nor in a vacuum removed from the everyday living of our lives.

Conversely, I would hazard that many Catholics overestimate their input into the process. Without grace, we do nothing. Our every work is a gift from God, for we lift not a finger nor draw a single breath except by His active support. Part of the work of our faith is to grow in our realization of this truth and our gratitude for God’s generosity towards us in our poverty. In the end, our contribution to the “work” we do is assent, even more surely than it was when we gave our mothers a bouquet that our fathers cut from their garden just moments before.


#10

[quote=Corpus Cristi]In that case, Catholics believe “sola fide”, but wait, we don’t. We don’t believe that receiving the sacraments and doing what Christ required us to do is trying to “earn salvation by our own merits”. Protestants however, seem to think so, but then again, most protestants refuse to learn what the church actually teaches and remain outsiders looking in. That isn’t any way to get info, reliable info at least.
[/quote]

The main difference, IMO, is that “faith alone” means pleading only the merits of Christ for salvation, intead of the merits of Christ and our own merits for good works.

Council of Trent:
CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, **by the good works which he performs ** through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

Brian


#11

Brian

Our works show our faith. They are the “proof is in the pudding,” so to speak. Without works, saying we have faith is meaningless. As it states in the second chapter of James, “I will show my faith **BY **my works.” Sola Fide says that we don’t have to do that.

This belief was one of Luthers teachings. He took out several books of the bible that didn’t support his beliefs. He also wanted to remove James along with Revelations. James, because it says that faith alone is not enough. And Luther wanted to say that it is. He called the book of James an “epistle of straw.” Again, this was his attempt to nullify that writing.

But you can’t nullify the word of God. By trying to do so, you subtract from it. Basically, you are saying that God desn’t know what he’s talking about. And who put you over God?


#12

Brian

Our works show our faith. They are the “proof is in the pudding,” so to speak. Without works, saying we have faith is meaningless. As it states in the second chapter of James, “I will show my faith **BY **my works.” Sola Fide says that we don’t have to do that.

You seem to think Sola Fide is concerned with justification to other people (which is what the book of James addresses). Protestants agree with James, in that we should show our faith by our works. That is not the subject. Sola Fide has nothing to do with justifying yourself to other people. Sola Fide is between the believer and God. God doesn’t need to see works to know you are saved, God knew it before the foundations of the world(Eph 1).

Sole Fide is simply pleading only the merits of Christ for salvation. So how do you plead? Do you beleive one is saved solely on the grounds of what Christ did for you or do you beleive that your good works also help merit eternal life?

This belief was one of Luthers teachings. He took out several books of the bible that didn’t support his beliefs. He also wanted to remove James along with Revelations. James, because it says that faith alone is not enough. And Luther wanted to say that it is. He called the book of James an “epistle of straw.” Again, this was his attempt to nullify that writing.

Please provide evidence that Luther “took out several books of the bible”. Most RCs recognize that the canon wasn’t even infallibly settled until the council of Trent. Evidence clearly shows that there was disagreement on the canon, especially the deuterocanonicals, within RCism all the way up to Trent. Cardinal Cajetan, Rome’s main representative against Luther, agreed with Jerome that the deuterocanonicals were not equal to the rest of the OT canon. At the eve of the reformation, RC bibles that sharply seperated the deuterocanonicals as less than Scripture were dedicated to and endorsed by popes. Again, where is your evidence?

But you can’t nullify the word of God. By trying to do so, you subtract from it. Basically, you are saying that God desn’t know what he’s talking about. And who put you over God?

What if it really isn’t the word of God? What if the Jews, who were entrusted with the OT never recognized them as Scripture? What if you are adding to the word of God? Then what happens? And where did “And who put you over God?” come from?

Brian


#13

[quote=SojournerOf78]Ive been in conversation with quite a few protestant believers lately and we have discussed Sola Fide (Faith Alone)…every time I try and speak with them about it it becomes this weird twisted theological pretzel.

I constantly hear from them how Faith alone is what “saves” yet they will at the same time say that if a person isnt acting as a Christian they cant be “saved” because that proves they dont have true Faith.

So when you boil it all down the Protestant view that I am always hearing is that in order to be “saved” you need to have works, because being without works shows you dont have faith, so they, without understanding it, claim that true faith has works, which is the Catholic point of view. But when i say this they say no no no…you Catholics believe in a “Works based righteousness”…

I know that we believe we are saved by Grace through Faith, not because of our works. But that we must work out our salvation by bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance.

Can somebody help me out here, it all seems anti-Catholic babble to me and I truly dont understand their reasoning.

To me it just seems like they want to have another easy way out of any obligation…to me it seems like most Protestantism is the EASY way out…
[/quote]

When Protestants say that Catholics believe in works rigtheousness, they are saying they think Catholics think they can EARN salvation or worse yet PURCHASE Salvation through good works or Indulgences. But what you say about being saved by Grace through Faith for Christ’s Sake, is exactly what we Lutherans believe in too.

Fortunately the Lutherans [MYChurch] and the Catholics [YOUR Church] have finally stopped fighting the battles of the 16th Century and realized that they have been talking PAST each other for 500 years. Check out the Document on Justification signed by the Catholics and the Lutheran World Federation a couple of years ago. It’s refreshing to see the two finally agree on something so basic


#14

[quote=headman13]When Protestants say that Catholics believe in works rigtheousness, they are saying they think Catholics think they can EARN salvation or worse yet PURCHASE Salvation through good works or Indulgences. But what you say about being saved by Grace through Faith for Christ’s Sake, is exactly what we Lutherans believe in too.

Fortunately the Lutherans [MYChurch] and the Catholics [YOUR Church] have finally stopped fighting the battles of the 16th Century and realized that they have been talking PAST each other for 500 years. Check out the Document on Justification signed by the Catholics and the Lutheran World Federation a couple of years ago. It’s refreshing to see the two finally agree on something so basic
[/quote]

From what you said, you don’t know what indulgences actually are, you don’t know what Catholics believe about salvation, and you probably know a lot less than you think. You probably didn’t go here first, but check www.catholic.com tracts to brush up because what you said makes no sense with what the church teaches. We don’t agree on the way to of salvation. If we did, the Lutherans would have come home by now, they haven’t. We just agree that we are saved ultimately by grace because without the grace that God gives, neither our faith or our works that display our faith would be worth anything. James not only condemns sola fide, but he batters it over the early Christians’ heads over and over and over again in his letter that not only salvation at the end of our lives and at the end of time comes from more than faith alone, but he says that justification while we’re living on Earth comes from more than just faith alone.


#15

originally posted by **brianberean **

If we expect to be received on the ground of what we do ourselves-that is what is called Justification by Works. If on the ground of what Christ has done for us-that is what is meant by Justification by Faith.

Catholics do not believe we will be received into heaven by what we do ourselves. However, faith without works is DEAD. For a person to truly have faith, they must have works. Catholics in no way shape or form believe that they can earn their way to heaven through those good works.


#16

[quote=brianberean]Maybe this will help:

by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921)

Sometimes we are told that Justification by Faith is “out of date.” That would be a pity, if it were true. What it would mean would be that the way of salvation was closed and “no thoroughfare” nailed up over the barriers. There is no justification for sinful men except by faith. The works of a sinful man will, of course, be as sinful as he is, and nothing but condemnation can be built on them. Where can he get works upon which he can found his hope of justification, except from Another? His hope of Justification, remember—that is, of being pronounced righteous by God. Can God pronounce him righteous except on the ground of works that are righteous? Where can a sinful man get works that are righteous? Surely, not from himself; for, is he not a sinner, and all his works as sinful as he is? He must go out of himself, then, to find works which he can offer to God as righteous. And where will he find such works except in Christ? Or how will he make them his own except by faith in Christ?
Justification by Faith, we see, is not to be set in contradiction to justification by Works. It is set in contradiction only to justification by our Own Works. It is justification by Christ’s Works. The whole question, accordingly, is whether we can hope to be received into God’s favor on the ground of what we do ourselves, or only on the ground of what Christ does for us. If we expect to be received on the ground of what we do ourselves-that is what is called Justification by Works. If on the ground of what Christ has done for us-that is what is meant by Justification by Faith. Justification by Faith means, that is to say, that we look to Christ and to him alone for salvation, and come to God pleading Christ’s death and righteousness as the ground of our hope to be received into his favor.

Ephasis added.

Brian
[/quote]

This is what I am talking about Brian, BB Warfield is obviously a great wordsmith but why create a motto that doesnt mean what the motto implies? Its eems that coming under fire from the Church these Protestant apologists have sort of waffled on what they mean by Faith Alone…


#17

[quote=brianberean]You seem to think Sola Fide is concerned with justification to other people (which is what the book of James addresses). Protestants agree with James, in that we should show our faith by our works. That is not the subject. Sola Fide has nothing to do with justifying yourself to other people. Sola Fide is between the believer and God. God doesn’t need to see works to know you are saved, God knew it before the foundations of the world(Eph 1).
[/quote]

Its funny, whether or not the Catholic church or anybody else thought anything about the canon of scripture…Luther still wanted James out, he seemed to understand something that you cant, that the book of James DOES fly in the face of his theology. Regardless of anything then, why did he want that book gone??

[quote=brianberean]Please provide evidence that Luther “took out several books of the bible”…
[/quote]

Who needs evidence? this is widely known…where have you been?..Im sure we could dig up a few sources though…anybody wanna take a crack at it??


#18

[quote=MariaG]Catholics in no way shape or form believe that they can earn their way to heaven through those good works.
[/quote]

That’s fine if you beleive that. However, this canon from the Council of Trent seems to show that RCs must believe that their own good works at least help to merit eternal life.

Council of Trent:
CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, **by the good works which he performs ** through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

This “infallible” statement from Trent clearly shows the difference between the teaching of the RCC and Sole Fide which means trusting solely in the merits of Jesus Christ for justification.

Is it that hard to see?

Brian


#19

Its funny, whether or not the Catholic church or anybody else thought anything about the canon of scripture…Luther still wanted James out, he seemed to understand something that you cant, that the book of James DOES fly in the face of his theology. Regardless of anything then, why did he want that book gone??

I don’t know why Luther went through a stage in his life where he wanted the book of James gone. He probably misunderstood it at one point, after all he had catholicism engrained into his head for many years. He did lighten up about James later though. And he never produced a translation of the bible that excluded James.

Who needs evidence? this is widely known…where have you been?..Im sure we could dig up a few sources though…anybody wanna take a crack at it??

What you’d first have to successfully prove is that the canon of Scripture was “infallibly” set before Luther. (you can’t) You’d also have to successfully prove that there weren’t already several RC approved bibles that were endorsed by popes shortly before Luther which also sharply seperated the deuterocanonicals as subScriptural. (again, you can’t) The fact of history is that there was disagreement about the deuterocanonicals throughout NT era history. From Jerome to Pope Gregory the Great to Cardinal Cajetan until Trent. If the deuterocanonicals were never infallibly declared to be part of the canon and there was disagreement within the church up until Luther, then how can you claim he took the books out of the canon?

Brian


#20

Uh, no Brian,

The “simple fact of history” is that the canon of Scripture was set WAY before Luther, in the 4th Century at the council of Hippo (or Carthage, I can’t remember which one was first), with the Dueterocanonical books intact. Every council thereafter reaffirmed this same canon. It was reaffirmed again at Trent, in response to Luther’s removing the 7 deuterocanonicals.

For a history of the whole canon of Scripture (old and new testaments), as well as the Church’s treatment of the Bible over the centuries, read Henry Graham’s Where We Got The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, available from Tan Press; or, check out the tracts on this website on the subject.

It’s one of those “Protestant myths” that Catholics added books to the Bible to justify our doctrines. No, sorry, but I’m afraid they were already there, it was Luther who removed them to justify rejecting doctrine.


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